New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart delivered her annual State of the City address on Wednesday night, highlighting the achievements and challenges of her administration in the past year. Stewart, who is serving her fifth term as mayor, praised the progress made in education, economic development, infrastructure, housing and public safety. She also acknowledged the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the city’s finances.
"Together we are leading New Britain into the 21st century and making it a model of success for other municipalities to follow. We are energized, we are strong, and we are growing.”
Stewart said that education is a top priority for her administration and that she is proud of the improvements made in the school system. She cited examples such as increasing graduation rates, expanding pre-K programs, launching a new STEM academy and renovating several school buildings. She also thanked the teachers and staff for their dedication and resilience during the pandemic.
Stewart also touted the city’s economic development efforts, saying that New Britain has attracted over $300 million in private investment and created over 1,000 jobs in the past year. She mentioned some of the projects that have been completed or are underway, such as The Beehive Bridge, Columbus Commons, The Herald Square Apartments and The Stanley Black & Decker Technology Center. She said that these projects have transformed downtown New Britain into a vibrant and attractive destination.
Stewart also spoke about the city’s infrastructure improvements, saying that her administration has invested over $100 million in road paving, sidewalk repairs, sewer upgrades and stormwater management. She said that these investments have improved public health and safety as well as enhanced property values.
Stewart also addressed the issue of housing affordability and quality in New Britain. She said that her administration has implemented several initiatives to increase homeownership opportunities, support landlords and tenants, combat blight and promote neighborhood revitalization. She said that these initiatives have resulted in over 500 new housing units being built or renovated in New Britain.
Stewart also commended the city’s police department for its efforts to reduce crime and improve community relations. She said that New Britain has seen a 25% decrease in violent crime since 2013 and a 40% decrease in shootings since 2019. She also praised the police department for its outreach programs such as Coffee with a Cop, Shop with a Cop and Youth Police Academy.
Stewart also acknowledged that New Britain faces some fiscal challenges due to revenue losses caused by COVID-19 pandemic. She said that she will work with state officials to secure more funding for New Britain while being mindful of taxpayers’ burden.
Stewart concluded her speech by thanking all those who have contributed to New Britain’s success and calling for continued collaboration among all stakeholders. She said that she is optimistic about New Britain’s future and urged everyone to keep working together to make it even better.